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No. 34: Jul-Aug 1984

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Sunspots And Disease

Six of the major influenza epidemics, at least as far back as 1917, were synchronized with the sunspot cycle. Fur-thermore, all but one of these epidemics involved an antigenic shift, wherein the flu virus developed a new coat of protein, which made it resistant to the immunities the population had built up over the years. There is no known mechanism by which solar activity can abet virus evolution, except penetrating radiation, which is inherently destructive.

Lowered human immunity may also be a consequence of solar activity, according to Solco W. Tromp, director of the Biometeorological Research Center in the Netherlands. Over 30 years of research, using blood data from 730,000 male donors, led Tromp to the conclusion that the blood sedimentation rate varies with the sunspot cycle. Since this rate parallels the amount of albumin and gamma globulin, resistance to infection may also follow the lead of the sun.

(Freitas, Robert A., Jr.; "Sunspots and Disease," Omni, 6:40, May 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #34, JUL-AUG 1984. � 1984-2000 William R. Corliss